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Here’s why creating single-payer health care in America is so hard

There's no secret formula when it comes to designing a comprehensive insurance system. In his latest article for VOX, TCF's Harold Pollack explains how an American single-payer system would necessarily replicate our current system’s most glaring defects.

Single-payer would require a serious rewrite of state and federal relations in Medicaid and in many other matters. It would radically revise the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), which strongly influences the benefit practices of large employers. Single-payer would require intricate negotiation to navigate the transition from employer-based coverage. The House and Senate would be in charge of this tension, and at risk of the negotiations among key legislators and committees who hold sway.

Read VOX's article on insurance models by Harold Pollack.

Tags: insurance policy

Yes, Obamacare is in dire need of fixing. Here’s a guide to the best options.

The Affordable Care Act, sometimes known as "Obamacare", has boosted the number of Americans who have health insurance. However, the design of the legislation holds some serious flaws that need to be addressed before it is accepted as a helpful addition to America's social insurance repertoire. A Los Angeles Times article details the recommendations that TCF fellow Harold Pollack and Washington and Lee law school emeritus professor Timothy Jost put forth in their recent TCF report, "Key Proposals to Strengthen the Affordable Care Act."

Jost and Pollack approach their task as admirers of the ACA, which they note has brought the percentage of Americans under 65 without health insurance to its lowest point in five decades. Yet they acknowledge that "some of its approaches have turned out to be ineffective, poorly targeted, or not ambitious enough to address deeply rooted problems."

Read the Los Angeles Times article about reforming current ACA legislation.

Tags: obamacare, healthcare reform, affordable care act

Obamacare Supporters Make Case for Big Changes

A new TCF report on the Affordable Care Act provides "an important indication of supporters’ general thinking about the law now," says Louise Radnofsky of the Wall Street Journal. The report, released today was co-authored by TCF fellow Harold Pollack and health care expert Timothy Jost.

Some of the biggest boosters of the 2010 Affordable Care Act are calling for the law to be significantly expanded — or risk irrelevance.

Check out the full article at the Wall Street Journal.

Experts Propose Wide-Ranging ACA Tweaks To Improve Affordability

Today, TCF fellow Harold Pollack and health care expert Timothy Jost published a co-authored TCF report on the Affordable Care Act. Rachel Karas at Inside Health Policy discusses the key takeaways of the report in a new article:

Tim Jost, a former health law professor at Washington and Lee University, and Harold Pollack, a health fellow at The Century Foundation, laid out a 19-point plan to streamline the Affordable Care Act and allow more Americans to access health coverage using ideas from both sides of the aisle.

While they recognize the law's shortcomings and the political limitations of their proposals, the authors said many of the recommendations don't require congressional approval and would avoid a complete legislative overhaul.

Read the full summary of Pollack and Jost's report at Inside Health Policy (paywall).

If you want mental health services to prevent violence, Medicaid expansion is critical

TCF fellow Harold Pollack responded to the recent shooting on an Oregon college campus, saying that if we are to use mental illness as a scapegoat for many shootings, then we must seriously consider providing better treatment to patients. He suggests better treatment in the form of Medicaid expansion—as opposed to gun reform. 

Cornyn’s proposal does not address the most glaring issue in American mental health policy: the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion. Medicaid expansion was always the public health cornerstone of ACA. It remains the single most important measure to expand access to mental health and addiction treatment, serving severely vulnerable populations such as the homeless, addressing the complicated medical and psychiatric difficulties of many young men cycling through our jails and prisons.

Check out the rest of Pollack's article on Medicaid expansion via the Washington Post.

Tags: mental health, medicaid expansion, gun violence, gun reform

Our Health System Has Big Problems But…

TCF fellow Harold Pollack wrote in Washington Monthly's "Ten Square Miles" that despite the U.S. healthcare and insurance system being a disaster, the nation's mortality rate has surely impressively improved in terms of human mortality rates. Pollack shares some graphs that show these findings:

Read Pollack's article and view the rest of the graphs.

Tags: mortality, healthcare system, gdp


Social Insurance

Social Insurance

Compared to other advanced nations, America’s retirement security and health care systems offer weaker protections against risks we all face. The Century Foundation’s work focuses on ideas for strengthening Social Security, pensions, and health care – including steps for building on the Affordable Care Act.

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